Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Bobby Bland

June 29, 2013

Some smooth soul for those smooth seduction moments:

Dear Bobby (The Note)

Great sixties montage added.

I Say Yeah: Rock Rap Confidential

June 24, 2013

Every month I receive a free newsletter by to-be-taken-seriously music critic Dave Marsh. Usually I skim them if they deal with roots-type musicians, others I simply ignore because the genre doesn’t interest me.

This month a piece which is very close to my heart, so I will cut and paste it in its entirety, and also suggest that you subscribe (free) if you want to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of post 1950s music (such as I do).

RRC Extra No. 39: Bobby Bland

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CRY, CRY, CRY…. Dave Marsh writes: Bobby Bland was, in his prime, the most powerful blues shouter of all time, though capable as well of a caressing tenderness. “Turn On Your Lovelight” is what the rock world knows, I guess, but the man’s legacy is also in “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do,” “Farther Up the Road,” “I’ll Take Care of You,” “I Pity the Fool,” “Cry Cry Cry,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” to my ear the finest “St. James Infirmary” of them all, the entire Two Steps from the Blues album (the best Southern soul album, even including Otis’s; it has the impeccable and beautiful and scary “Lead Me On,” for many the greatest performance of his career. The list goes all the way up to his Malaco sides, particularly “Ain’t No Love In the Heart of the City.” It is not true that Bobby Bland never made a bad record; it is true that his ratio of great to mediocre is as high as any other singer you can name, in any genre you care to cull.

To call him Bobby “Blue” Bland always seemed redundant to me—as if he could be heard for so much as eight bars and you wouldn’t know that this was his core, his essence and, one way or another, a heap of your own. But you can make too much of this essentialism–finally, you know Bobby Bland’s name and music less well because he was like his audience. He was a key voice of the black Southern working class from the ’50s onward. His role was to play the shouter from the anonymous ranks, the totally heart broken man among an all-but-totally heart broken folk. (And of course, once in a while, shouting with all the more exuberance because of that every day heartbreak.)

He was completely non-intellectual about the whole enterprise, as far as I can tell. He told Peter Guralnick that his ambition was to be able to sing each song the exact same way, every time he sang it. A strange kind of perfectionism. But his command of tone and phrasing was so great that for me he held the place that Frank Sinatra held for a lot of other people. “Lead Me On” in particular has never not brought me to tears. Not once, though I sometimes listened to it many, many, many times in a row–when I was by myself, the way that particular act of allegiance is best performed. And you know what? He sings it the same way every time.

Perfection is something he knew a lot about. And I, especially the I who found him on the radio and held him very close to the center of my being for the better part of half a century, will never be able to thank him enough. Or often enough. Or even express what I’m thanking him for altogether adequately.

I will tell you the real truth: He was, for me, probably the greatest blues singer of any kind, and the reason I can say this now instead of at the beginning is quite simple: I started listening to Two Steps from the Blues.

“No matter what you do, I’m gonna keep on loving you and I’m not ashamed, oh no, I’m not ashamed.”

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For the uninnitiated, an obituary HERE and another HERE.

And a holiday to the Caribbean with a comely companion of your choice, if you can give me the Deadric Malone reference. No googling, please. Scouts honour.

I would like to add to Marsh’s selections by recommending Reflections in Blue.
Brilliant songs, silky vocals and brass riffs to absolutely die for.
Produced by Steve Barri (who cut his teeth recording early surf music) who understood Southern Soul to its very core.
Nothing from my recommendation on youtube, so here are two old chestnuts.

KT Reader Advisory

December 15, 2012

Dear Reader.

Apol for the extended silence. Truly revolutionary changes have recently taken place in tubbyland, and I shall post the new arrangements in due course.

Meanwhile, enjoy some Keith Jarrett from his later years. Definitely one of my favorite pianists along with Cecil Taylor and Randy Weston.

Thanks to me Mum RIP, some Richard Tauber.

We have serious competition in the Trash Department, but Surfer Bird by The Trashmen is right up there with Louie Louie

Many versions of Shaking All Over, but I go with Vince Taylor and His Playboys due to a great BBC set which would have cost about Two English Pounds. Love that rockabilly inflection in his voice. Vince went on to become big in Frog land. Probably the leather wear.

The original candidate for rehab. Sly and the Family Stone live on Soul Train. Very conservative wardrobe that day. True.

Lord Buckley, the original aristocrat hipster. Drank gin by the gallon, married six times, was a civil rights precursor and reputedly kept an elephant in his mansion. You can read about him /HERE.

Oh hell. Lets chunder-in Sir Les, esp for you Gordon.

And the counterpart, Dud and Pete doing Dirty Uncle Birtie. This is for you, FROOG. Happy Trails.

Recently came across Tito and Tarantula, and then realised that I’d seen the Tarantino movie after talking with my hairdresser, a woman whom I suspect has a wild, wild past.

This is terrible. Now you’re all getting a bit overheated, so I’m out of here.

Musical Miscellany….

October 23, 2011

I have not welcomed digital recording methods because it kills the warmth in saxaphones and pianos.

Picking up on the last End Note, some more Fela Kuti from Black President recorded in the Netherlands, 1981.

Black President - Fela at his peak.

ITT International Thief Thief – Parts 1 @ 2.
Join this with the OWS movement. On second thoughts, look out Sino-investors in Africa.

In 1958 Art Blake took this now famous photograph of all the jazz musicians in Harlem for Esquire magazine.

For copyright reasons, go here. Heck, pls google images: Equire jazz musicians Harlem 1958

Theolonious Monk turned up last in order to make sure no one outdressed him. He was also wearing his trademark spectacles with dappled bamboo frames. The ones you often see in older Japanese movies

While in Harlem a few years later, Bob and Earl. The Monkey, The Hitchhike @ The Limbo.

Do the Jerk – The Larks.

Dyke and the Blazers – We got more Soul (and so has KT)

Something tropical…..Horace Andy

Finally, something sweet…….Gregory Isaacs

If that didn’t improve your sex life, I give up.

Different Narratives about Trains.

July 24, 2011

Even the non-musicologist, and I don’t include myself in that category, is perfectly aware that songs about trains play a central role in the pantheom of popular American music, however configured: Blues, Country, Traditional, Bluegrass and even Soul. In the time it takes to prepare tea and toast, I had no problems coming up with three dozen titles.

As per SOP, I turned to Wikipedia and was bowled over by the fact that here are literally thousands of songs dealing with trains or train derived themes HERE.

Train lyrics encompass all of the most endearing themes central to great songs – rootlessness and Manifest Destiny, love and romance, significant meetings and departures, outlaws and ladies (loosely termed), hobos and travel lust, hard times, fast trains, slow trains and every other variant in between.

While the railroading of America during the 19th century had its dark side – the demise of the buffalo, the use of Chinese coolie labour, the destruction of indigenous Indian culture, and the rise of the Robber Barons, lets dwell on the musical and cultural positives and briefly review the Wiki entry.

Modern rock and roll was ushered in with Elvis’ version of Mystery Train, although I prefer The Band’s version, which surprisingly was not included in the Wiki entry. I was also most fortunate to see that great rockabilly journeyman Sleepy La Beef cover this song on two different occasions. This MAN provided a non-stop two and a half hour revue which covered the pre-modern foundations of modern popular music.

Casey Jones and Big Railroad Blues by The Grateful Dead would have to feature in any Boomer’s list.

Five Hundred Miles by Seldom Scene, again not included, must rank due to the sweetest bluegrass harmonies ever put to vinyl.

Locomotive Breath by those poms Jethro Tull involved a power riff which exemplified hard rock circa 70s at it very best.

The blues staple Ramblin On My Mind was covered by Clapton with truly exemplary guitar work. Incidentally, it was his first vocal outing.

Love in Vain by the Stones(wrongly attributed to Woody Paine and not Robert Johnson) showed why the band was wise in signing up Mick Taylor after the death of Brian Jones.

Perhaps the darkest country song of all times was Travellin’ Man by Hank Williams.

And who can forget Loco-motion by Little Eva. Shit, even that truly forgettable power-trio Grand Funk Railroad managed to turn in a formidable version.

And to show my multi-media explorations, I thoroughly recommend the The Yardbirds version of Train Keeps a Rollin’ all Night Long. Killer stuff found on YouTube.

Now, lets cut to the chase and revue the narratology of trains in China, and I will only provide Chinese media links when they are able to be located in a hurry.

I strongly suspect that the Ministry of Truth has been working overtime deleting some China Daily entries following last nights disastrous collision, given that some of the more hubristic statement by railroad officials seem to have disappeared. (Possibly my search skills need upgrading.)

US train narratives celebrate individual agency/freedom of action – be it positive or negative – whereas the praise songs coming out of China celebrate the overarching institution within Chinese society, the CCP ie opening the Beijing Shanghai superfast connection coincided with the 90th anniversary celebrations.


Unfinished op pieces the story of my virtual life. If you aren’t totally exhausted by the Wenzhou train story, which is now losing its precision and turning into a soupy fog, I leave you with the following.

The WSJ has done some okay reporting on the numerous issues involved, including the larger commercial-financial considerations which make the share market go round. There has been a bit of smirking by a couple of Japanese newspapers which I scrolled thru.

Custer at ChinaGeeks has had his hand on the pulse of outraged domestic opinion, and so doing provided a better platform for my scribbles. I leave you with Justrecentlys latest entry on Wen’s big press conference at Wenzhou, which I recommend be read in conjunction with the silly hat entry on ESWN HERE.

If Monty Python didn’t exist, China’s Ministry of Truth would have invented him.

Finally, I discovered the existence of another blogger with musical taste (Gram Parsons and the Who) almost as discerning as mine, so this has not been a lost exercise.